Chone Figgins Rumors
Justin Verlander says he won't engage in contract talks with the Tigers during the regular season, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. "Once this last start comes around, I want to concentrate on the start of the season,'' Verlander says. There are no signs from the Tigers that an extension is imminent. Verlander isn't slated to become a free agent until after 2014, but Heyman suggests that Verlander might be less inclined to sign a long-term deal with one year to go before free agency. Here are more notes from the two Central divisions.
- If the Twins were to allow manager Ron Gardenhire to leave, he'd be "unemployed for about 10 minutes," Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues. Gardenhire is in the last year of his contract, and the Twins lost 96 games last season and 99 in 2011.
- GM John Mozeliak and the Cardinals are "primed for long-term success," Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says. The Cards can both strive to win in the present and count on winning in the future, thanks to a strong core and future payroll flexibility.
- The Cubs could be on the lookout for a spare infielder, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. Manager Dale Sveum likes the recently-released Chone Figgins, saying Figgins "is one who would be interesting because he switch hits and plays the outfield." But don't count on the Cubs acquiring him, since Sveum would rather have a lefty hitter with power.
Some news from around the NL Central...
- The Cubs haven't been in contact with Chone Figgins, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports. Figgins was released by the Marlins earlier this week and, as Rogers notes, is one of the few veteran options available if the Cubs want to bring in a third baseman.
- Ronny Cedeno has cleared waivers after being released by the Cardinals three days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter).
- Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com analyzes the cost of an Adam Wainwright extension with the Cardinals and figures Wainwright will end up being paid between $21-$23.5MM per season. Talks are ongoing between Wainwright and the Cards and the ace right-hander feels positive that an extension will be settled before Opening Day. Wainwright is eligible for free agency after this season.
- Jonathan Sanchez can opt out of his minor league deal with the Pirates on Sunday if he hasn't been added to the club's Major League roster, but the Bucs have until Tuesday to respond, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports. Sanchez's one-year contract will guarantee him $1.375MM if he makes the roster.
- Also from Singer, he opines that the Pirates' trade for John McDonald is the kind of veteran acquisition a team makes when it believes it will contend. Otherwise, Singer wonders why Pittsburgh would add McDonald to an already-deep middle infield mix.
The Marlins released utility player Chone Figgins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). The Marlins signed the ACES client to a minor league deal last month after the Mariners released him with one year remaining on his contract.
Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Mariners after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum for which the Mariners will mostly remain responsible. Figgins posted a .181/.262/.271 batting line in 194 plate appearances with the Mariners last year. He played all three outfield positions and appeared at third base.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka may be the next Japanese pitcher to turn a strong World Baseball Classic performance into a nine-figure Major League contract, ESPN's C.J. Nitkowski writes (Insider subscription required). Tanaka, 24, has a 2.50 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 4.34 K/BB ratio in 1103 IP over six seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka has expressed interest in pitching in North America and is three years away from international free agency, though Rakuten could open the posting process before then.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The Padres are starting to listen to offers for Chase Headley, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports. The Padres tabled extension talks with Headley earlier this winter after the two sides were far apart on terms. The third baseman is under contract through the 2014 season and Madden argues that the Yankees should make a move for a young star like Headley or Giancarlo Stanton in order to bolster the lineup and ensure the team will contend this year.
- "The fact is, this is the right time to trade Stanton. He’s never going to have more value than this," a Marlins operative tells Madden, arguing that such an unpopular move can't hurt a team that is already at rock bottom in terms of public perception. “I understand Jeffrey [Loria]’s getting killed in Miami over blowing up the team this winter and why he doesn’t want to trade Stanton. But how much more can we get killed? He’s already had some injury issues, and we’re never going to sign him to a long-term deal," Madden's source said.
- Carl Crawford criticized the Boston media and told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler that he erred in signing with the Red Sox in the 2010-11 offseason. "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either," Crawford said.
- If the Tigers do acquire a reliever, MLB.com's Jason Beck believes such a deal isn't likely until nearer to the end of Spring Training when other teams have their own bullpen situations settled.
- Chone Figgins feels a lack of playing time exacerbated his struggles with the Mariners and is looking forward to seeing more action playing under NL rules with the Marlins, The Associated Press reports.
- Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have both looked good in Spring Training and the Red Sox could reap more than financial benefits from last summer's trade with the Dodgers if these two young pitchers develop, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase also talks to Rays manager Joe Maddon about how the Rays were targeting De La Rosa before L.A. dealt him to Boston.
As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:
- The Phillies were surprised Ben Revere was available and, in fact, it was the Twins who brought his name up in trade talks after dealing Denard Span to the Nationals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Within the same article, Brookover writes the struggles of Domonic Brown were one reason the Phillies were forced to alter their offseason blueprint. "We were hopeful that Domonic would lock down one of those corner outfield spots," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He did not do that. He still may do that...but we can't necessarily count on that to happen. Because of that, then we were kind of filling all three outfield positions."
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon provided additional contract details for some of the players the Reds have signed within the last month including right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has more than two dozen different escalators, incentives, and bonuses written into the two-year deal he signed last month.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jeff Francis are near locks for the first four slots in the Rockies' starting rotation leaving Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and Chris Volstad jockeying for the fifth spot, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets the candidates for the Rockies' rotation change daily, but the final two spots could come down to Nicasio, Pomeranz, and Chatwood.
- Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, envisions the recently signed Chone Figgins in a Alfredo Amezaga-type role, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Amezaga played every position, except pitcher and catcher, during his four-year stint in Miami.
The Marlins signed utility player Chone Figgins to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports (on Twitter). ACES represents Figgins, who was released by the Mariners with one year remaining on his contract earlier this winter.
Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Mariners after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum for which the Mariners will mostly remain responsible. The Marlins will presumably pay Figgins the MLB minimum salary if he makes the team.
Figgins posted a .181/.262/.271 batting line in 194 plate appearances with the Mariners last year. He played all three outfield positions and appeared at third base.
The Phillies, who have openings at third base and in the outfield, checked in with the recently released Chone Figgins, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, the extent of the club's interest is unclear at this time. More from around baseball..
- No less than seven teams have interest in right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets non-tendered Pelfrey last week but they still have interest in re-signing him for less than the $5.875MM he earned last season.
- The Twins don't want to trade Josh Willingham but there are multiple teams interested in the leftfielder, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). An AL executive recently told Mackey that the club might not get much more than a No. 4 starter for Willingham, despite his team-friendly contract. Willingham is owed $14MM through 2014.
- Rays GM Andrew Friedman figures to be a popular man during the meetings as he may dangle James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson to acquire offense, Morosi writes.
- The Mariners need to increase their risk tolerance if they hope to take a major step forward at this week's meetings, opines Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. For the M's, that could mean spending a lot more money on payroll or trading away young prospects for proven players.
- One exec tells Morosi (via Twitter) that this year's Rule 5 draft class is one of the best that he has seen. The draft will take place on Thursday.
Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the Mariners after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum that the Mariners will be responsible for. If another team signs Figgins, that team would only be responsible for paying him the MLB minimum salary, so the Mariners can't hope to save more than $490K.
Mark Polishuk contributed to this post.
It was on this day in 1995 that Joe Girardi first became a Yankee, as the Bronx Bombers acquired the catcher from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Mike DeJean. Girardi won three World Series titles in his four seasons with the team as a player and won another championship as the team's manager in 2009. Here are some items from around the majors...
- Chone Figgins is "not likely to be a fit" for the Angels, a team source tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Figgins spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Angels before signing with the Mariners as a free agent and badly struggling for the last three seasons. Seattle designated Figgins for assignment earlier today.
- The Red Sox have called about Kyle Lohse, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe as part of a reader mailbag. Cafardo says Boston is trying to sign a first baseman or starting pitcher in free agency, and is looking to add a starter, shortstop or outfielder on the trade market.
- The Red Sox are still interested in Josh Hamilton, with GM Ben Cherington calling the outfielder "a terrific talent" in an interview with Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (via Bowden's Twitter page).
- The Red Sox "made a really strong push" to sign Hiroki Kuroda before the right-hander re-signed with the Yankees, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (Twitter link).
- Brandon McCarthy is a singular free agent case and it's hard to predict his next contract given the unique circumstances of his season-ending brain injury, writes Jeff Sullivan for Fangraphs.
- The price tags for free agent outfielders are rising, so ESPN's Buster Olney (ESPN Insider subscription required) lists a few outfield options that could provide better value in trades: Shin-Soo Choo, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano and Justin Upton.
The Mariners have designated Chone Figgins and Scott Cousins for assignment, according to a team press release. In corresponding moves, Julio Morban, Brandon Maurer, Vinnie Catricala, Anthony Fernandez and Bobby LaFromboise have all been selected to Seattle's 40-man roster.
The move all but officially ends Figgins' disastrous tenure in Seattle. Figgins signed a four-year, $36MM deal with the M's after the 2009 season but hit just .227/.302/.283 in three seasons with the team. He is still owed $8MM for 2013, a sum that the Mariners will have to almost entirely cover since no club is likely to take on anything more than the minimum if they agree to acquire Figgins in a trade over the allotted 10-day DFA period. Despite Figgins' poor recent form and his age (35 in January), he is likely to catch on with another team due to his versatility and a possible belief that Figgins just needs a change of scenery to again be productive.
Cousins was claimed by the Mariners two weeks ago. It has already been a busy offseason for Cousins, who was waived by the Marlins and then claimed by the Blue Jays, who designated him for assignment at the end of October. The outfielder has a .523 OPS in 188 career plate appearances with the Marlins since 2010.